Anthony Howell and his Disenchanted Sow

Anthony Howell and his Disenchanted Sow


They do say never wrestle with a pig,

you both get filthy. So, instead, strip

naked on a busy Belfast street,

assume the crouch of a submissive mate

– porcine-cubic, promising – to woo

(before you’re led away) a Tamworth who

has lovely ginger eyelashes. Anthony

tried this. The beast, unfortunately,

didn’t fancy him – she trotted off to sniff

the crotches of the crowd, an act which

made her vulva swell so much the local paper

featured, for the first time, genitalia;

and squeals from councillors, If this is art,

blah blah, ensured it was far more than that.


Keith Hutson


I am delighted that Keith has included me in his pantheon of troupers. Here is a statement about the performance from 1998:

I wanted to work with a large pig, and the opportunity came in Belfast this year, at the Fix Festival, organised by Catalyst Arts in June.  The organisers found me a very large sow called Joan.  I don’t know whether she was a Tamworth or some related Irish variety, but anyway she had ginger bristles and lovely ginger eyelashes, and she was immense.  I decided I no longer needed my suit, and performed sculpture for her which I thought a pig would appreciate, or at least which I thought I would appreciate if I were a pig.  The piece was called Pig Sculpture.  My mother, who was a vet and who died two years ago, would have been proud of me.  I made small, tucked up sculptures with my own body, then turned them on their side or stood them on their heads, sculptures which were never taller than the back of my partner.  I squatted on my hands, rolled over onto my back in the same position, holding each position for as long as possible.  This work was based on the performance cubism I have always been interested in, turning actions or positions through 90 degrees and now upside down or on their sides.  I had drenched my genitals in the cheapest cologne I could find in Belfast – very cheap it was too – and Joan seemed to view these with distaste, I’m glad to say, and became more interested in interacting with the audience.  She also made very good drawings with her bristles which she rubbed off against a post.  Finally, as the piece came to a conclusion, she let herself down onto her elbows and took a nap.  I thanked her for her participation, and just at that moment eight bullet-proofed members of the R.U.C. turned up in an armoured car, having heard that someone was annoying a pig in the shopping mall.

click the link for full text of this performance archive entry

About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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